Sex Trafficking – What is it?

Super Bowl 52 is being hosted by Minneapolis – St Paul, and local and national media have drawn much attention to the fact that sex trafficking will happen in larger numbers throughout that week. At Source, we want people to recognize that Sex Trafficking and other criminal activities tend to happen ANYTIME there is a large gathering for national sporting events or conventions. In fact, in Minnesota, some of the busiest weekends for trafficking each year occur over hunting and fishing openers!  It is sometimes difficult for Minnesotans to believe that sex trafficking happens in the US outside of television programs and movies; however, the sad truth is that sex trafficking and sexual exploitation occur everyday – not only in our large metropolitan areas, but all across the MidWest. In fact, trafficking related charges have been filed in every county of Minnesota for the past two years.

What is sex trafficking?

Sex trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of commercial sex act. There are typically three parties involved: 1) Seller (pimp, exploiter), 2) Victim (woman or child being forced to provide sexual services, and 3) Buyer (“john”). This crime is the second only to drug trafficking as a criminal enterprise in not only MN, but around the world, bringing in an annual estimated $152 Billion.  

Learn how to identify and report trafficking.

Visit Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign for good introductory information on Human Trafficking – both sex and labor trafficking.

Signs that someone may be a victim of human sex or labor trafficking:

  • Mental Health
    • They are fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, nervous or paranoid.
    • They exhibit unusually fearful or anxious behavior when law enforcement is mentioned.
    • They avoid eye contact
  • Physical health
    • Lack of health care
    • Appear malnourished
    • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse. (bruises, cuts, abrasions)
  • Lack of control
    • They have few or no personal possessions.
    • They are not in control of their own money or bank account.
    • They are not allowed to speak for themselves.
  • Misc:
    • Unable to tell you where they are staying
    • Lack of knowledge of their whereabouts and may not even know what city they are in.
    • Loss of their sense of time.
    • They have numerous inconsistencies in their story.

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